If widespread reports from several reputable sources (like BBC Sport) are anything to go by, Olivier Giroud will be an Arsenal player in the not too distant future. The Montpellier coach also had this to say:
“Arsenal are very interested and Giroud wants to play in England. If Arsène agrees [a fee] with the president, he will sign for them,”
So who is latest addition to a seemingly endless line of French talent that Wenger seems to pluck year in year out? Let’s find out:
Olivier Giroud comes from Montpellier, the team that shocked France by winning Ligue 1 last season with the mere pocket change they had compared to PSG’s endless riches. Giroud played an integral role, scoring 21 goals, bagging the golden boot, and had a hand 9 other goals (assists), proving that there’s more to his game than putting the ball in the back of the net.
So what sort of player is Giroud? He’s big, he’s strong and has a physical presence. A height of 6ft 3 ins tall and around 88kgs, Giroud would certainly provide a different dimension to what we already have in Van Persie. We said the same thing when Chamakh was signed, but he only provided an aerial presence. Giroud provides this and much more of a powerful physical presence. He is much more of a creator by all accounts, and judging by the number of assists he has created.
With the lack of depth from last season in the striking department, this is just the sort of signing we need (assuming Van Persie stays of course!). We have signed Podolski, but he’s more likely to be played on the left, what I’m talking about is an out and out striker.
Whenever the likes of Chamakh and Park got an opportunity, to say they were a shadow of Van Persie would be a compliment. They were awful. I understand they didn’t get much opportunity but when they did they lacked any presence, and provided no spark whatsoever. Giroud, a man who almost singlehandedly won Montpellier the title out of nothing will be a reliable back up. If you think this is a knee jerk purchase by Wenger, you’re wrong. You see, Wenger finds talent, even when that talent is a needle in a haystack. Wenger has been tracking Giroud for years.
When he was playing for Tours in Ligue 2 in 2008-09, he was being coached by Daniel Sanchez, a close ally of Wenger. This is where his friendship with Laurent Koscielny was born. They are the best of mates and are currently room mates for the national team at EURO 2012. He had this to say about his potential future team mate:
“I always knew he would become the great player he is now. He always had something more than the others. I am delighted that he won the French title and finished the league top goalscorer because he deserved it. He has worked so hard for it. And the best is yet to come.”
His friendship with Koscielny, not to mention his current exposure to members of the French squad will ensure that he will have no trouble adjusting to life at Arsenal. Koscielny rates him and he also came from a similar background, rapidly rising from France’s lower leagues, so he knows what it is like, and he knows what it takes.
The only weakness I suppose is that he hasn’t had exposure to big games, playing with a team of stars. He will be tested in such games, particularly in the Champions League.. He has already scored his first goal for France in February against Germany. This however was only his second game ever outside of France! The other was a Europa League qualifier in Hungary in which Montpellier were eliminated.
He is now part of the French squad, and is slowly receiving such exposure. He’s making this transition look seamless. He was particularly impressive in his performance against Iceland, where he set up the last two goals – one with a great one-two with Ribery and the second with a fine header for Adil Rami, to complete a 3-2 comeback for France. The signs are looking good.
I really hope this deal can be done soon, will add some much needed quality and depth into our strike force. Rumours are that Wenger will request that the player be taken away from France training after tonight’s game against Ukraine so that a deal can be completed. If not, the deal is to be completed after EURO 2012. Can’t wait.